Newborn Rhino Saved From Drowning Refuses to Give Up After Losing Mom

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Photo Credit: Luit ChalihaLuit Chaliha/AFP/Getty Images

This newborn rhino saved from drowning has had a difficult start to his young life, but it appears he’s a tough little guy after being rescued at just three days old. Wildlife officials saved the rare newborn rhinoceros, which was discovered alone next to a stream in an Indian national park without his mother.

The 166-square-mile Kaziranga park is the habitat for the world’s largest concentration of one-horned rhinos.

The whereabouts of the calf’s mother is unknown, sparking fears she may have become a victim of the poaching problem in the park, though there is no evidence of this yet. At least 12 rhinoceroses have been killed by poachers in Kaziranga since the start of 2015, according to BBC News.

The calf is receiving round-the-clock care at a sanctuary after being rescued by the Kaziranga Forest Department on July 6 and shuttled quickly to the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), a regional sanctuary jointly operated by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Images of the operation show the vulnerable creature being transported through the park in north-eastern Assam state.

rhino baby

Photo Credit: Luit ChalihaLuit Chaliha/AFP/Getty Images

Rupu Gandhi Chaudhury, joint director for WTI, told The Dodo, “The calf was discovered near a torrential stream, swollen due to heavy rain. The mother may have crossed over or gone ahead. All attempts were made by the rescue team to look for the mother, but she was not found.”

Chaudhury added, “The calf was obviously not strong enough to keep up with his mother against the floodwaters.”

Animal keepers, “who are like foster mothers,” and veterinarians, are treating the infant for dehydration: He receives bottle-fed milk formula every two hours and will continue to do so until he reaches 2 months of age.

The vulnerable newborn is the youngest rhino that CWRC has cared for since its inception in 2002. While he may not have had the strength to keep up with mom, it seems he is finding the strength not to give up on life, thanks in part to his rescuers.